Aiming to catch and reflect feelings spontaneously using abstract shapes flooded with vibrant and mostly blueish pigments, contemporary artist Ilayda Tulum creates abstract paintings comprised of consecutive and irregular lines. As the feeling demands, she smears kindly or wildly, pours lots of water, squeegees the paint, and builds textures on layers using acrylics, charcoals, ink, and pastels.
NYL: How did you discover yourself?
Ilayda: I’ve been producing art at certain intervals since I was a child. I was just not aware that it was another way to express myself. I never thought that things could get to this level. The “discovery” came true through attempts and tries, I guess. There isn’t an exact moment of one’s discovery; it’s a process of making and seeing the know-how, noticing the creative edges of your art. However, there was a period when I realized I wanted people to see what I created and was curious about their thoughts and how my art makes them feel. I suppose that was an urge that discovery awoke in me, and I was already satisfied with the results. I was creating for myself for a long time, but when I thought about what my art would awake in someone, I think that was the time I discovered my potential and was ready to say to people that “I made this painting.”
NYL: What are your inspirations and influences?
Ilayda: I don’t have certain things that make me inspired. It generally is felt when you are not looking for it; it just pops into my head at the most unexpected time. Sometimes it’s just the colors of a bird, a feeling, a book, or random shapes on the streets.
My works are rarely planned. Most paintings are just products of an experiment, constantly flowing with the current feelings and instant burst of an idea.
NYL: How has your technique evolved? Do you mainly use acrylics?
Ilayda: I always try different ways to find out what works and what’s not. That’s why I have quite different works from various disciplines. My technics and nuances have evolved, but I’m just taking them somewhere new instead of leaving one. The evolution comes from constant practice and being open to trying new formulas. If it gives you the enthusiasm and yeast and also makes you wonder, it deserves to be tried. During the process, you can discover another way of expressing yourself, and it’s enough to shape your way of creating.
The creation process is led by contrasting colors and finding the harmony within. After finding the perfect colors just for that moment, I add layers in various shapes, pour water on the paint, or mix the water with paint, then make it more luminous and textured by wiping away the paint with some tissue or just spreading it. Then I work on details like scraped marks, irregular lines, and stunning brushstrokes that compose heavy contrast with the background. The shapes and textures lead the way as the painting starts to emerge; I add on what the painting needs until it doesn’t need any more moves.
I have worked on various styles, including geometric abstraction, but they are not too far from each other. Some textures and marks are constant at the end. Overall my paintings are much simpler now.
I was only using acrylics initially, and then it just prospered gradually. I added some oil pastels, ink, and charcoal. Lately, I have been working on digital, too. Painting is a physical process, so digital is an actual rule breaker. Working with diverse surfaces also evolved my technique a lot.
NYL: Can you tell us a little about your color palette?
Ilayda: My color preferences are mostly intuitive and organic, but I have some favorite colors like some shades of blue, especially dark and deep ones. Recently I’ve been trying to bring some brighter ones, and I work with some vivid red or orange details to make them striking in particular.
NYL: Can you name a few of your favorite artists?
Ilayda: Lately, I have been into Gerard Richter, De Kooning, Edward Hopper, David Hockney, and Matisse, artists that came to my mind.
NYL: Did you think painting helped you get through the pandemic? How did the pandemic contribute to you and your art?
Ilayda: It was challenging to focus on something in the first weeks of the pandemic, and creating was one of them. I was feeling compelled to rethink my expectations of what I create. Though pandemic helped me to push myself in terms of constantly creating since there was enough time to go through things, so it’s a vice versa. Honestly, that period was one of the most productive times when I clearly saw the seeds of potential. I was doing daily challenges to create one art piece every day, and through those regular studies, my style started to settle.
NYL: What would your dream project be?
Ilayda: I don’t have one big project that I dream of consistently, it changes from day to day, but I always imagine and desire my works to be seen with valuable partnerships. I love working in different mediums, so maybe a large-scale public artwork that reaches people would make me pleased. There are many various areas that I can imagine my art would be great with it or on it. It just flows in my mind every day instinctively.